Monday, 24 September 2018

Newspaper column 26 September 2018 - Brexit update


Dominating the news at the end of last was Prime Minister Theresa May’s statement on the ongoing Brexit negotiations, following a meeting with European Union leaders in Salzburg, Austria.

Ahead of our leaving the EU next March, leaders had been hoping to agree a deal before the end of this year, in order to ratify it by the leaving date of 29 March.

However at the conclusion of the talks, the other EU leaders made it clear they were not interested in our proposals. In fact they were publicly rude and unprofessional about it, something which shocked many of us.

In my column earlier this month, I wrote that I had always been of the view that the EU would agree a deal, but as is usually their way it would be very late in the process. However I also laid out that I was not keen on what has become known as the Chequers Proposals as there were elements of it that I did not believe were delivering on the result of the referendum.

It is clear from their stance earlier in the week that at present the EU does not see the Chequers Proposals as a workable way forward.

Whilst I was pleased that it seems that an alternative to Chequers will now have to be found it was very disappointing that the EU offered no constructive way forward. We did however have a number of leaders of EU countries telling us that we should now have another referendum.
Therefore I was delighted that in her statement last week, the Prime Minister said that for EU leaders to reject her plan with no alternative at this "late stage of negotiations" was "not acceptable".  She said talks had reached an "impasse" and could only be unblocked with "serious engagement" from the EU side.
In her statement, the Prime Minister also said the EU must treat the UK with more "respect" in Brexit negotiations and that a 2nd referendum was not an option.
In my view the EU have shown once again they just don't understand our British psyche. Our history shows that we do not take kindly to other people telling us what we as a nation should do.  Their actions last week will strengthen our resolve, and I am pleased that the Prime Minister has taken a hard line on this and spoken out on behalf of this poor behaviour on such crucial negotiations. I hope the EU sits up and takes notice!
This was the PM at her best and showing the leadership we need from her at this time. Whilst I think it is a fair point that maybe she should have reached this point with the EU some time ago, it is good to see it now. We now need to see these words backed up with real action.
One other point that is quite clear to me is that those calling for a second referendum share a great deal of responsibility for where we are at present. By undermining our Prime Minister’s position and giving the EU hope of reversing the decision our nation made in the referendum, they have led them down a road they would otherwise not have gone. I genuinely do not believe we would be where we are today, with the EU playing hardball in the hope we will back down without their campaigning. In fact all the 2nd Referendum brigade appear to have achieved is make a no deal Brexit more likely.
Whilst I believe we should do all we can to agree a deal and no deal should be a last resort I was pleased to hear the PM confirm no deal remains a possible outcome.

The ball is now in the EU’s court and we await their constructive response. In the meantime you can rest assured I will be working to deliver the clean and positive Brexit that this constituency voted for.






Protecting ancient woodlands


The issues around protecting ancient woodlands are of course important and it is fitting that we all take an interest in ensuring their continued protection.

There is already significant legislation in place protecting trees and severe penalties can be imposed by those who flout the law. We have some of the toughest regulations from anywhere across the World.

Having said that there is always scope to see how best we balance the needs of development with the environment and whilst I think careful consideration is already a given across the UK I am also aware of the concerns of some over these issues.

I regret I am unable to attend the All-Party Parliamentary Group meeting on Ancient Woodland and Veteran Trees due to other planned parliamentary business but will always be pleased to hear further reports of their work.



Friday, 21 September 2018

Department of Transport consultation on proposed new cycling offences campaign

There has been, as we all know some high profile court cases involving cyclists and serious injury and deaths not just to cyclists themselves but also as a result of collisions with other road users and pedestrians. It has in part led to the government looking afresh at the laws around cycling. Some of our current regulation is very old.

All road users in the UK have to contend with some of the busiest roads in the World. That in itself is a factor in the current debate. Add in the inevitable frustrations over road use and congestion and it can lead to accidents or actions and reactions that are unhelpful at best and downright dangerous. Whilst recognising these and other factors it is also worth noting that we still have one of the best road accident rates in the World. Road deaths have seen a steady decline over many years albeit with some blips. The trend is down and whilst that is to be welcomed we all want to see that figure continue to fall. Cyclists, whilst there has been a huge resurgence in popularity still represent a tiny proportion of traffic on our roads and yet are involved in a disproportionality high number of accidents. This needs addressing as every death or injury is a tragedy.

Part of the process in improving road safety is ensuring that all road users show and have respect for other road users. The more crowded it is the greater the need. There is also the vital role of taking personal responsibility. Drivers using mobile phones are now heavily punished to the extent that those who have passed their driving test within the last two years lose their licence on first offence if caught using a phone. There are seatbelt laws too - a factor that has greatly aided safety. Cyclists must be encouraged (I am reticent about legislation on this) to take their own personal safety as a given: high viz clothing, helmets and also adherence to the high way code.

The logic is that whilst provision is improving for cyclists with road design, cycle lanes and priority at traffic lights and more there must also be a clear recognition that all road users, regardless of their chosen transport method, must take responsibility firstly for themselves and then for others on the road.

Live Exports campaign


The issue around the export of live animals has been contentious for some time and with clear evidence of failings within the current system more must be done.

I was delighted to open the Westminster Hall debate on this very issue following the petition on this matter.

I eagerly await the day we leave the EU as from then onwards we will be free to bring in our own legislation on this and all manner of matters. BREXIT will benefit the nation and animal welfare too.

Here is the speech I made during the debate:

'Mr Chairman, thank you and may I open by thanking the petition proposer, Janet Darlison, who has shown a tireless devotion in pursuing the issues around animal welfare (destined for export) over very many years. She together with her husband and supporters and many others too, have by their consistent efforts raised public awareness to the extent that their petition has received such staunch support and thus the debate today. So, our thanks to her and as I say many others. It is also very good to see that she and her husband have been able to join us today for this debate.

As I reviewed the many documents received from interested parties with their varying views, a clear theme emerged: that everything we debate today is subject to EU legislation and that any changes will have to wait until post BREXIT.  What an appalling state of affairs. How can we ever have found   ourselves in a situation whereby the review of the wellbeing of animals is bogged down and hindered in the bureaucracy of The European Union? We are not free to act. If I needed further incentive or evidence (and I don’t!) that BREXIT is critical to the wellbeing of the Country – as well as animals – then it is here in abundance. It is worth noting our UK animal welfare standards are amongst the highest in the World. From farm to fork, our farmers care and so do the majority of the nation. If only the EU could match our welfare standards in terms of the reality of what happens as opposed to what should happen. Too frequently they don’t. Further, once live animals leave our shores we have justifiably grave concerns that the care, devotion and dedication that our farmers employ, is not always reflected on the Continent, as live animals make their onward journey. Nor that transit animals are routinely treated in such a way as to comply with EU regulations – which in themselves often fall short of our own standards. The UK needs rescuing from the mire of this misjudged fudgery – and so do our animals. BREXIT beckons and it really cannot come soon enough.

The Government made this Manifesto commitment: “As we leave the European Union, we can take early steps to control the export of live farm animals for slaughter.” Can I say from the outset that I endorse this proposition?

With the manifesto commitment, now this timely petition and with the Rt. Hon. Member for Chipping Barnets' Private Members Bill (regarding banning live exports) which was scheduled for debate for Friday 2nd February (but not debated in the House) there is a ground swell of opinion as never before in favour of a ban. The Rt. Hon. Member for Chipping Barnet, in securing her Private Members Bill in September 2017, made these points: Live transport of animals is regulated by the EU, but once animals leave the UK, enforcement is patchy. Cases have occurred where animals suffer from exhaustion and dehydration, in transit for days, suffering extremes of temperature and without sufficient food, water or rest. She added at a rally in Parliament square “… Successive governments have been powerless to act because EU rules prevented them from imposing a ban. When we leave the EU, Parliament will have the power to ban live exports...”  This is powerful and well argued.  I can find no good or valid reason why this type of export should continue. It seems a reasonable proposition to me that animals should be slaughtered as close to where they were raised as is practicable. The carcasses, can then be exported.

 It would be far more efficient, and the UK would benefit from up-selling and exporting the finished product.  The ban may impact some trade – for instance there is a trade in sheep (as opposed to lamb) exported for their mutton. There is a limited market for mutton in the UK so most goes for export. Mutton sheep sold in the UK for around £70 to £80 a head, are exported, live, to the EU where they make around £200 because of the higher demand there. We must oblige the trade to slaughter, then export and keep the profits locally and if they don't like it they must source their mutton elsewhere. This good meat, flavoursome and at bargain prices may well find itself trending in the UK. I would like to see that and help support our farmers and also hard-working families.  On any account, we must not put profit ahead of stopping unnecessary suffering.   It is worth mentioning that the trade in live export of horses and ponies under a certain value has long since been banned. We must now focus our concerns on other animals destined for export for slaughter.

The Rt Hon Member for Chipping Barnet chose for good reason to postpone House of Commons consideration of her Ten Minute Rule Bill - it still remains an option to debate later in this Parliamentary session. Significantly though, she has met with The Secretary of State for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs earlier this year to discuss her Ten Minute Rule Bill. I understand the meeting was helpful and constructive. The Secretary expressed sympathy with the concerns over live exports, and is committed to restricting the trade. The Government is preparing proposals on live exports for consultation and is looking very seriously at a ban. There is the very real prospect that the matter of animal exports is included in the Agriculture Bill, which the Government is committed to bringing forward. There is a clear indication that The Secretary will look into this.

Just a few years ago live export was big business. It is estimated that around 750,000+ animals were live exported in 2000 for slaughter or fattening. That figure has declined and is now reckoned to be around 43000 in 2016 according to RSPCA figures. Tougher regulations and public awareness has seen a switch to carcass export. There is still a busy export trade in live animals between Northern Ireland [NI] and Southern Ireland [SI] and I see no reason why that cannot continue post BREXIT. Dairy cattle are routinely sent to the Republic who then send the milk produced back to NI. Calves cross the border for fattening too. Concerns have been raised that in order to escape a ban a trade might develop where live exports continue from across the UK by shipping to NI, then on to SI and then on to the Continent. Apart from this being a hugely expensive and thus untenable operation, legislation already exists around journey times, conditions and the need for approved and posted journey plans. Limiting journey times further to say 8 hours once animals have left UK territory would scupper any chicanery of this sort. I believe we can leave N I and S I (with some additional safeguards) to continue as they are without fear of this creating a loophole post BREXIT. It would also assist with World Trade Organisation rules in so far that regulations state that as members, we cannot treat one country differently than another on trade in the same product.

I have taken into account and looked carefully at a range of proposals and concerns from groups, including the NFU. There are concerns about tariffs imposed on the carcase trade post BREXIT. Whilst I accept this point we have yet to see how matters of this nature will be settled. Further, post BREXIT there are new and bigger markets to pursue. British food has worldwide acclamation. We can and will do better post BREXIT and whilst the tariff issue is yet unknown it cannot be a deal breaker in deciding animal welfare. It could be argued that tariffs might apply to live exports as opposed to carcase trade. I see no value in speculation here. There's no substitute for doing the right thing. And that applies to animal welfare and leaving the EU. There might be some choppy water ahead but I'd rather face that interim phase than be hamstrung forever by the floundering EU.

Another proposal I have considered is that there is an overhaul of current legislation post BREXIT with the introduction of a new “live export assurance scheme.”
We could make these regulations as stringent as we like of course, post BREXIT. The difficulty is that the current rules are flouted all too often - with impunity. If we cannot enforce current regulations beyond our own shores then this proposal becomes largely redundant. Further our petition proposer, Janet Darlison, has recorded serious animal welfare shortcomings, in breach of current regulations as lorries arrive at UK ports ahead of the onward journey.  Anecdotal and documented evidence suggests the further animals travel away from British shores, the more they suffer in transit if only because of distance and time. More alarmingly though, is they are more likely to suffer from heat, lack of food and water, no rest, stress, injury, death and a lower and unacceptable disparity in the conditions and circumstances of their slaughter at final, distant location, compared with high and monitored UK slaughter regulations.

The export of high value breeding stock can continue. These prized animals have always fared far better in transit. We have to act though on the grim and unnecessary export of live animals for slaughter. It must stop. It has already dramatically dwindled in recent years. Live animal export for animals destined for slaughter has been banned already for many years elsewhere in the world – such as in New Zealand. The UK has never been frightened of doing the right, decent and moral thing even when that may not accord with everyone or best suit the status quo. The new freedoms afforded by the beckoning BREXIT will reinstate our sovereignty. We can once again do what is right and proper by our nations, our people and our animals. We can fulfil a manifesto promise regarding live animal export. I commend this petition to the chamber.

Please visit the Guide Dogs stand at the Conservative Party Conference campaign



Guide dogs provide a vital lifeline to many people and this wonderful service needs all the support it can get. My own experience of talking to those who have assistance dogs leaves me in doubt that these dogs are of invaluable assistance to their owners.

One of the growing trends on our busy roads is motorists parking on pavements - something that has long since been outlawed in London. Whilst there are other "clutter" issues to consider, this is a major contributor to blocked pavements and will be an issue I raise with ministers when I next see them.

Many have written asking if I will visit the Guide dogs stand at the Conservative Party Conference. This year I can only attend for a few days and the diary is packed with meetings and appointments. However I will endeavour to go along and show my support if only briefly.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

This isn’t right fracking campaign


Fracking is relatively new to the UK but around the World there are well over a million fracking operations and to date there has never been a serious accident; so in essence fracking is a safe and clean way to produce energy.

The need for energy is always growing and will continue to do so. Many households are already feeling the pinch with higher energy prices – despite a highly competitive UK market. With the introduction of fracking Countries across the world have seen energy prices fall dramatically with real benefits for consumers and industry alike.

Nowhere in the World will fracking be more heavily regulated and controlled than here in the UK and with the advent of this exciting, clean and safe technology everyone will know and see the benefit.

Fracking is less harmful than some current sources of energy. For instance it will create less CO2 than compressing gas in Qatar and shipping it to Britain. Also being over reliant on supplies of gas from Qatar or Russia is always less than satisfactory.

National supply and decisions need a UK wide coordinated approach and whilst we will all take an interest in how this new industry and energy supply unfolds I am supportive of the government in its’ actions that will ensure the best possible outcome for everyone.


Please help save our paths campaign


Access to the countryside and walking continues to be a hugely attractive past time for many and I believe numbers are increasing. I have enjoyed these activities over the years so know how much pleasure it can bring.

We also have to bear in mind that farming and agriculture is a major industry within the UK. Like any business it must be able to carry out business in a timely and ordered way. Any expansion of access must always been seen in light of that.

The key to continued mutual use of the countryside by those who farm it and those who seek leisure time within it, is ongoing and improved cooperation and ensuring that routes and pathways already established are kept open and clear.

I will be taking a keen interest in the Bill mentioned and will seek to ensure a healthy balance is achieved between all parties.


Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Newspaper column 18 September 2018 - The Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme


Last week I spoke in Parliament on a number of issues, including fair taxation and the importance of strengthening the powers available to quickly deal with unauthorised traveller encampments.

I also spoke at two events launching reports into two areas of work I have contributed to. One on the workforce needs of the tourism and hospitality sector and the other on the UK immigration policy. I hope both of these reports will make a valuable contribution to the debate as we shape our country post Brexit.

Meanwhile in Mid-Cornwall I welcomed two well-deserved funding awards totalling nearly £2 million from the Government that will go towards inspirational projects run by the St Austell Bay Economic Forum (SABEF) and the Kneehigh Theatre.

Towards the end of the week I have been privileged to spend two days at the Joint Forces Defence Academy for an introduction to the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme (AFPS).

In these globally troubled times our armed forces continue to play a vital role in keeping us and our allies safe and secure. There are many constituents from Mid-Cornwall who currently serve or are veterans – I hope we can all agree we owe these people our thanks and respect.

We also have RAF St Mawgan in our constituency with its proud tradition of  service, currently a No 22 (Training) Group Station and home to the Headquarters of the Robson Academy of Resilience and the Defence Survive, Evade, Resist, Extract (SERE) Training Organisation, which trains around 5,000 personnel a year, making the most of our rugged Cornish coastline to challenge mental and physical resilience.

The Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme is a programme to give Members of Parliament experience of the armed forces. Its aim is to improve the quality of debate on military issues, and it does this by exposing its members to first-hand experience of the service.

We will learn about the role of the military in a democracy, the strategic context for defence, and how forces are generated to achieve military strategic objectives.

Discussions are mixed in with practical sessions where attendees get a taste of what life is like in the Armed forces.

With RAF St Mawgan such an important part of Cornwall’s contribution to the military, I am delighted to have been accepted on the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme with the RAF.

Last week was the start of with the scheme. I spent two days at the Joint Forces Defence Academy for introduction and learned a great deal about the personnel in our armed forces, how they are structured and current strategic priorities.

I am really looking forward to continuing with the AFPS, in particular increasing my understanding and appreciation of those who serve in the RAF and being able to make decisions from a more informed position in the future. 

My team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. The office is open to the public Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm (no appointment necessary). If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please, either visit the office or contact me on either 01726 829379 or office@stevedouble.org.uk. Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: www.stevedouble.org.uk/events

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Newspaper column 12 September 2018 - Devonwall debate


Last week saw Parliament return after the Summer Recess.

It was good to take feedback from my work during the summer back to colleagues in Westminster so I can better serve the people of Mid-Cornwall.

Of note in Parliament last week I met with Sports Minister Tracey Crouch to make the case for better recognition for Cornish Pilot Gig Rowing.

While I was in Westminster I was also able to travel out to the national air traffic control centre at Swanwick to see the vital work they do in controlling our aviation.

Over the weekend it was good to join with local councillors and residents as part of a big community clean up in St Blazey, collecting a large amount of rubbish as part of an organised litter pick.

This week sees a long running issue with a potentially big impact on Cornwall return with the Boundary Commission reporting back to Parliament with its latest proposals for changing Parliamentary constituency boundaries across the UK.

This is particularly contentious for Cornwall because it could see the creation of a ‘Devonwall’ Parliamentary seat, with a MP representing people in both Devon and Cornwall.

I have been opposed to any changes such as this since they were first proposed, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, there is the principle of crossing Cornwall’s historic border with a constituency. In 2014 the Government recognised the Cornish as a national minority under the Framework Convention of the Council of Europe, which I am now a member of. The government at the time said this would now afford the same recognition to the Cornish as the other Celtic parts of the UK, the Scottish Welsh and Irish. No one would entertain having a cross border seat between Wales and England or Scotland and England, and therefore with the protection the Cornish enjoy under the Framework Convention I believe it is fundamentally wrong that this seat be put forward.

Secondly the new constituencies as based on cutting the number of MPs from the current 650 to 600. With Brexit now imminent, the UK will be taking back a lot of legislative work that is currently handled by the EU. This is a good thing, but is not a time when we should be cutting the democratic representation in our country. We will be losing 73 Members of the European Parliament and their responsibilities will be coming back to the UK Parliament – where they should be. If we are reducing the numbers of Parliamentarians, I think a better place to start would be by reforming and reducing the bloated House of Lords.

I will await the Boundary Commission’s report with interest. At some point there will need to be a vote on these new boundaries and I remain determined to fight for an outcome that is right for Cornwall.

My team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. The office is open to the public Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm (no appointment necessary). If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please, either visit the office or contact me on either 01726 829379 or office@stevedouble.org.uk. Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: www.stevedouble.org.uk/events

Monday, 10 September 2018

Campaign response - Gaza Briefing 11 September – please you could be there?; Stop Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestine; Demolition of Bedouin villages in the West Bank


I have recently been contacted by constituents who are concerned about the demolition of the West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar and would like to invite me to attend a briefing event in Parliament on this issue.

They informed me that Israel’s High Court has recently approved the demolition and eviction of the entire West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar, and that Palestinians had submitted three petitions to save the West Bank village - home to some 180 civilians - all of which have been rejected.

The Israeli authorities has argued that the herding village was illegally built on state land and must be moved. The High Court of Justice has upheld the state of Israel’s right to move the herding village, but has also expressed concerns that a viable relocation option has not been proposed. In response, authorities have drawn up plans to relocate inhabitants of the Khan al-Ahmar to nearby locations in the West Bank. These plans have recently been rejected by the inhabitants, who are threatening to respond with violence to any attempt to demolish the village.

I share my constituents’ concerns about the situation in Khan al-Ahmar and would like to see both sides take swift action to de-escalate tensions and reach a peaceful resolution. On this occasion I regret to inform them I will not be able to attend the briefing event due to other parliamentary commitments happening at the same time as the event. I would like to thank my constituents for drawing my attention to this issue and assure them that I will continue to monitor the situation in Khan al-Ahmar closely.

Campaign Response - Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliff



A number of my constituents have recently written to me to express their concerns about the case of Mrs Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian dual citizen who has been detained in Iran since the 3rd of April 2016.

I share their concerns about the deterioration Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s health and echo their calls on the Iranian government to secure her release as soon as possible.

Since Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s imprisonment in 2016, government ministers have been in regular contact with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and have made a number representations to the Iranian president urging him to intervene in Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was temporarily released from prison in August. Groups campaigning for Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release have said that indicates a strong possibility of lengthier releases in the future. It is important now for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to continue making decisions that will help secure earliest possible release of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe. I understand that granting diplomatic protection to Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is an option currently being considered by the Foreign Secretary. However, one of the difficulties with this option is the Iranian government’s refusal to recognise dual citizenship. They are not obliged to do so under international law.

Responding to a recent parliamentary written question on Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s situation, the FCO Minister Alistair Burt said that the UK Government “remains very concerned about all our dual nationals detained in Iran” and “continues to raise their cases with the Iranian Government at every opportunity”. The Prime Minister also made clear in Prime Minister’s Questions last week that she regularly raises this matter with the Iranian President and that her thoughts “during this difficult time … remain with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and with her family and friends”.

I will continue to speak up for and support Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release whenever the opportunity arises.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Bahrain Backbench Debate 11th September


Over the past few weeks I have received a number of campaign emails sent by my constituents inviting me to attend a Westminster Hall debate on alleged human rights abuse in Bahrain on Tuesday 11th of September.

Responding to a Parliamentary Question on this subject four months ago, the Minister of State for the Middle East reiterated the UK Government opposition to the use of the death penalty in all countries under all circumstances, and reassured MPs that the technical assistance offered by the UK Government is, above all, aimed at improving the Bahraini Government’s human rights records.

However, I note with concern the dire situation facing Maher Abbas Al-Khabbaz, Mohamed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa. It is important that UK set an example and stand for human rights internationally. We also need to ensure that taxpayer’s money spent abroad delivers positive results and leads to better outcomes for citizens.

While I regret to inform my constituents that I will not be able to attend the debate due to other parliamentary commitments that I have at the same time as the debate, given the severity of the situation, I will be seeking to raise this matter with the Minister for the Middle East when I next see him.


Thursday, 6 September 2018

State Pension Dashboard update

A number of people have recently contacted me about the future of the Pensions Dashboard website.
I subsequently wrote to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey MP about this, and she replied yesterday confirming the Government's support for the dashboard.
I have included a link to the mentioned statement below, as well as a copy of the letter.


Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Newspaper column 5 September 2018 - The latest on Brexit


Parliament returns this week after the Summer Recess. It has been great to be home in Cornwall for the past six weeks and it has been good to be able to get out and about and see so many of you during that time.

As we return one issue continues to dominate the national news – Brexit.

I thought it would be good to lay out clearly my position as we get closer to our leaving the EU.

As most of you will know I voted Leave. I have been a Eurosceptic for as long as I can remember. Our constituency voted by almost 2-1 in favour of leave, the biggest margin in Cornwall.

I am committed to ensure we leave and have the cleanest break possible from the EU. However it is clear not only that the EU wants to make it as difficult as possible for us to leave but that many people in Parliament are also determined to disrupt or undermine our leaving. With the Parliamentary arithmetic as it is this does present some real challenges for those of us that want to see a true Brexit.

It is vital for our democracy we respect the decision the British people made in 2016’s referendum and deliver what the people voted for.

I do not support another referendum – not only would it not be respecting the 2016 vote – which was a people’s vote, it would also undermine the negotiating position. It would also cause further delay and uncertainty. The vast majority of people tell me they simply want us to get on with things and leave. Businesses in particular want to know, as soon as possible what the future will hold.

It is doubtful there would even be time for another referendum within the time available but even if it could be shoehorned into the schedule, the delay and certainty would be the last thing we need.

Of course there is also the question that if we held another referendum, if there were people unhappy with the result of that one, would they then want another one, and so on until they got a result they were happy with? That isn’t how democracy works.

I continue to have serious concerns about what has become known as the Chequers deal and share the view of many that is does not deliver what people voted for in the referendum.

I have always been of the view that the EU would agree a deal, but as is usually their way it would be very late in the process. There have been the first signs in the last week or so that they are beginning to soften their position and that a deal for trade would be achievable.

I will wait to see precisely what is agreed to before deciding my position. Rest assured I will be working to deliver the clean and positive Brexit that this constituency voted for.

My team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. The office is open to the public Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm (no appointment necessary). If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please, either visit the office or contact me on either 01726 829379 or office@stevedouble.org.uk. Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: www.stevedouble.org.uk/events